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REDISCOVERING THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 29, 2019

BRYCE ON ENTERTAINMENT

– Everybody loves somebody, sometime, particularly Thursday nights.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Recently, my wife and I rediscovered the Dean Martin Show on Youtube. For those of you too young to remember, Dean’s show was one of the most successful variety shows on television, and broadcast “in living color” on NBC on Thursday nights. The show ran for nine seasons (1965 to 1974).

Due to his other entertainment obligations, such as movies, nightclubs and Las Vegas, Martin initially didn’t want to do the show. He demanded an exorbitant salary, refused rehearsals, insisted on a prime time slot, and only showed up on the day the show was taped (which was on Sundays). Surprisingly, NBC agreed to his terms and the show quickly became a favorite in America.

We hadn’t seen the show in many years, but after watching the latest set of reality shows on television, featuring pimple poppers, obese women, hoarders, naked survivalists, and talent shows, I started fishing around Youtube where I came across the Martin show by accident. Since then, we have been slowly going through the catalog of shows and enjoying every minute.

In hindsight, I think the reason for the show’s success was simply due to Martin’s on-screen playfulness, something appreciated by both men and women. In a way, the show was derived from his Rat Pack years in Las Vegas with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop, all of which featured bawdy behavior and some rather outstanding entertainment. They were portrayed as “rascals” on the loose, which was carried forward by Martin on his show. Not surprising, Sinatra was a frequent guest on the show.

The format of the Rat Pack shows called for the performers to be dressed in black tux and bow tie, which was standard issue back in the Vegas of the 1960’s. Dean carried this dress forward to his own show.

Like many variety shows of the time, it featured singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, skits, and an occasional serious piece. In this way, it was like a vaudeville show from yesteryear offering a plethora of entertainment to suit just about everyone. The list of guests appearing on the Martin show represented a veritable “Who’s Who” of the entertainment world, featuring big name headliners, up-and-comers, and veteran entertainers in the twilight of their careers, all of which Martin had a fondness for.

The show would certainly not be considered politically correct by today’s standards. Martin smoked incessantly, he put on a lovable-drunk shtick (he was actually quite sober), there was ribald humor, and scantily clad dancers a la Las Vegas, all of which would be criticized today as vulgar and sexist. Back then though, it was considered all rather classy and just plain fun; kind of like getting a sneak peak at a Las Vegas show back then.

Today, the music would likely be considered archaic, the humor corny, and the dancing behind the times. Regardless, the show was a delight to watch, which explains why it was popular for so long. It also speaks volumes in terms of how our entertainment culture has evolved over the years. Today, it is a pleasant distraction from the political turmoil of the day.

I’m not sure such a show would succeed today as we seem to be inclined more towards crass reality shows. Besides, there aren’t too many people who could pull off the Martin playfulness, sing well and be loved by the performers appearing on the show. The one exception might be Michael Bublé who has a fine voice and tries to have fun in his specials. If NBC ever approached him to do a similar show, I would recommend he demand an exorbitant salary, refuse rehearsals, insist on a prime time slot and only show up on the day of the show’s taping. Maybe then he could capture the magic of Dean Martin.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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7 Responses to “REDISCOVERING THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW”

  1. Paul C.. Ergler, Jr. said

    Loved the Dean Martin show!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bryce said

    A G.W. of St. Louis, Missouri wrote…

    “American television today cannot even begin to have the quality and enjoyability of many of these old shows. Hundreds of channels today and far less than 1% of the shows worth watching IMHO-it is a vast wasteland corrupting minds daily.”

    Like

  3. Thanks Tim. I just watched a couple of episodes on youtube. It was a great show. They do try to recreate this type of a show with America’s Got Talent and a few other shows but they don’t quite get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A D.G. wrote…

    “Loved your article about good Ol’ Dino! They just don’t make guys or shows like that anymore. Glad to hear from another fan of Dean’s. I do a weekly blog that you might like to check out. http://ilovedinomartin.blogspot.com/. I write some funny stuff & pick a Dino-vid every Sunday. Hence the name “Danny G’s Sunday Serenade with Dino”. Check it out, pallie!

    Take care & long live Dino!”

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    An R.R. of Los Angeles, California wrote…

    “I read your story on Dean Martin and it’s such a good story. Having worked on Dean’s show in 1969 and 1970 I have a accurate view of Dean. An interesting note is about five years ago I approached Michael Buble’ via an email to his people explaining my history with Dean and NBC. I asked would he consider talking to me about doing a show like Dean’s stating that he would be the closest performer to Dean. I had a meeting with my former employer NBC but it never came to fruition because Michael, being gracious, said at this time he had too many obligations with concerts and was thinking of starting a men’s perfume line. I think he would have been perfect for a show like Dean’s. I had contacted some of The Ding A Lings and they agreed with me and were willing to come to N.Y. or Burbank and be on the show for a fun skit or two.

    Thought you might like to know that. Great story you wrote.”

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    An M.W. of Delaware wrote…

    “I really enjoyed your article about Dean Martin on January 30, 2019, in the News Talk Florida!

    I retired early after a career in banking and as a CFP financial planner. I am now in my twelfth semester teaching a thirteen week class called “Everybody Loves Dean Martin!” at the University of Delaware Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. I even wear a tuxedo and hold a theatrical cigarette and highball glass when conducting class!

    Like you, I enjoyed Dino’s show, records, and movies in my formative years. I was lucky to see him in concert three times, once with Sinatra, and even got to meet him twice! He was even more handsome and charismatic in person, and a genuinely nice man.

    Have you had the opportunity to see his daughter, Deana Martin, in concert? She puts on a great show and includes a lot of stories about her Dad, and sings several of his songs along with her own material. She performs around the world, including Florida.

    Speaking of Florida, I am looking into moving down there from Delaware. Any recommendations on where to live in Florida?

    Thanks, again, for your great article. Long live Dino!”

    Like

  7. Tim Bryce said

    A J.I. of Cincinnati, Ohio wrote…

    “Dean was simply the best at everything he did….and don’t forget the Roasts! Maybe if young people knew what American entertainment was like before the Iron Curtain of political correctness fell, we might be able to do away with some of the current insanity….”

    Like

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